Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in case of John Koval v. Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., No. A-89305.
Hugh F. Mundy, with him, Marianne C. Smith, Dougherty, Mundy & Leventhal, for petitioner, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
Charles D. Lemmond, Jr., for respondent, John Koval.
Judges MacPhail and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 566]
The petitioner, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. (employer) appeals an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board which reversed a decision of the referee denying a claim petition filed by John Koval (claimant).
The claimant had worked for the employer as a welder for over twenty-seven years. In August of 1982, the claimant suffered fractures of the second and third
[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 567]
toes when a pipe fell on his foot. Claimant, at the same rate of pay, was given light duty work where he watched other welders perform their jobs. This job allowed the claimant to sit with his injured foot in an elevated position. As the injuries improved, claimant was given welding jobs that could be done while sitting. By December of 1982 claimant was performing pre-injury jobs when he slipped on a welding rod and reinjured his toes. He was examined by Dr. Thomas W. Byron, a company orthopedic surgeon and by an independent orthopedist, Dr. Joseph R. Sgarlat. Both doctors recognized that the claimant could not return to his regular job. The claimant never returned to work and retired in May of 1983.
In June of 1983, claimant filed a claim petition which the employer contested. Hearings were held. The claimant testified concerning the injury in December of 1982 and his inability to return to work thereafter. He also introduced the deposition of Dr. Sgarlat who opined that, following the December injury, claimant could do light duty work for no more than five hours per day. The employer presented the deposition of Dr. Byron, who also testified that claimant was capable of doing light duty work. The employer also presented the testimony of Henry Wooddeshick, the former personnel manager and George Evanick, the assistant plant superintendent. Both testified that the employer always went out of its way to accommodate injured employees, citing as an example the treatment afforded claimant following his first injury. Both also testified that light duty work was available to the claimant after his second injury. Based on this testimony, the referee denied benefits because of the availability of this light duty work at no loss of pre-injury income.
The claimant appealed to the Board. The Board reversed because it reviewed the record and concluded
[ 109 Pa. Commw. Page 568]
that, while light duty work may have been available, claimant had not been made aware of such work. Because the referee had failed to make findings concerning the claimant's average weekly wage and the fee arrangement between the claimant and his attorney, the board remanded to the referee ...